As we age, something happens to the way we see the world. Our view of life becomes tainted. Harsh realities skew our perspective. Difficult circumstances crush our spirits. We are overloaded by distractions. Our joy disappears. We lose our childlike sense of wonder and awe.
Childlike Sense of Wonder
I am a Mom to two wildly passionate children. They genuinely love deeply and live life LARGE. They are 8 and 10 years old. As their mom and as a brain cancer caregiver, I find myself in awe of their care free abandon; untainted by the heaviness of life. Their hearts are honest and authentic. They exude unbridled enthusiasm. Their joy is pure and effortless.
If I’m honest, I’m even jealous.
Slow Drain of Our Sense of Wonder
I don’t know exactly when it happens. I guess it’s sometime between childhood and adulthood. It’s not one, single moment of transition but a million little moments changing our perspective over time. Whenever we officially receive that “adult card,” it seems like the world has these unwritten, unspoken “rules” that we must follow. We subconsciously succumb to these invisible pressures that harden our hearts, zap our joy, numb our senses and steal our childlike sense of wonder and curiosity.
Over the last several months, life has evolved into a new kind of hard. The harsh realities of brain cancer have settled in, with no signs of leaving anytime too soon. These circumstances have distanced me from the world, making meaningful connection more difficult. When I step back to take it all in, I begin to realize all of what I have been missing or become numb to. The invisible barriers I put up around my heart and my spirit as a form of protection (or maybe, self-preservation) have really only isolated me from the beauty and life that exists all around me.
I find myself yearning to see life more like my children do. I want their exciting sense of wonder!
Seeing Life Through the Eyes of a Child: With a Sense of Wonder and Awe
Simple is Significant
As adults, we tend to overcomplicate things. We allow ourselves to get wrapped up in the myth that things have to be elaborate or hard to be worth it. But children, they see simplicity with a fresh perspective. They see possibility, entertainment and enjoyment. Remember the days when children enjoyed the cardboard boxes at Christmas more than they desired the gift inside? Watching my children explore life teaches me to embrace the simple pleasures in life, like the cardboard box, and to see the significance through their eyes. When we wipe away the layers of complexity and strip down the moments, we can understand fully that the little things are really the BIG things!
Beauty in the Broken
Children have this keen ability to see the beauty in the way things are instead of trying to see things the way the world thinks they should be. I would argue that they can often see and appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of an individual that doesn’t fit the mold far better than we as adults can. They don’t have a preconceived notion of what true beauty is. Their perspective is untainted by the views of the world. I pray for the Lord to give me eyes like those of my children. My heart desires to see the beauty in the differences. I don’t want to see something or someone as broken, needing to be fixed. I pray that the Lord will give me the ability to embrace the uniqueness and uncover the treasure that might be hidden at first glance. Give me eyes to see what God sees.
I feel like my children wake up with genuine smiles on their faces, ready to greet the new day. They are eager and full of uninhibited joy! Their spirits have this freshness and buoyancy that permeates every aspect of their little beings. They truly enjoy being alive. They have an appreciation for life and the moment at hand. Laughter comes easily and often. Everything is easily turned into a game. Being alive is a gift that they look forward to opening with anticipation daily. My children live their lives as a genuine and deeply authentic form of worship to our Lord. I want to exude the same joy in the presence of my circumstances, not in the absence of them.
No matter what our children are doing, they are “all in!” (Except maybe when chores are involved!) They have this gift of just being in the moment. When they are present, every sense is fully engaged! They are not distracted by the “what ifs” to come and they aren’t plagued by what just happened. My kids are still at an age where they are plugged in to the present, not plugged in to the demands of the world. Being fully present is a real struggle for me. It’s not one that I’m proud to own or one that comes easily and naturally. I pray daily for the Lord to allow me to fully be where my feet are planted; mind, body and spirit.
Children have this mindset of limitless possibilities. They create worlds with their natural curiosities. Their hearts are eager and willing to try new things. They dream big dreams. Their minds are allowed and even encouraged to see what is possible. Fear is real but doesn’t yet stand in their way. Does the world of possibility have to die with adulthood? No. But unfortunately, we allow it.
We live in a fast- paced world. Our families are stretched thin and most of us are living an over committed existence. I’m ashamed to tell you how many times per week (probably more like, per day) that I tell my kids to “hurry up!” However, there is beauty to be found in some of those unrushed moments. By slowing down, we give ourselves permission to be in the moment, to see the beauty and appreciate the gift. “Stopping to smell the roses” might not always be convenient but it might just be exactly what we need in that moment. God doesn’t always give us the things we think we want but he always gives us exactly what we need. Slowing down will help us see Jesus in the mundane and make the moments more meaningful.
Changing Our Perspective
Seeing the world through the eyes of my children is not always easy but I do believe it’s necessary. We only get one life and the Lord intended for us to live it in big and small ways. I don’t want to be so busy or so overburdened that I miss the gifts right in front of me.
By flipping the lens of perspective on my life, I will become a participant in my life, not just a spectator!